Byington honored as CattleWoman of year
When Barbara Byington served as president, vice president, secretary or treasurer of the Nevada State CattleWomen, and Western Nevada CattleWomen, she didn’t expect any recognition.
When she served as chairman of the Nevada Beeferendum, the State Beef Cook-Off, or many of the other beef promotion boards, Byington was just doing everything she could to improve the beef industry.
When she attended regional, state and national meetings or volunteered her time to the Ag in the Classroom or Farm City Day programs, Byington did it for her love of the beef industry, not for a pat on the back.
Perhaps that is why the Nevada State CattleWomen named Byington as CattleWomen of the Year at their state meeting in November. According to Nancy Eldridge, president of the state organization, the award is given to a woman who dedicates her time and resources in a lifetime commitment to the beef industry.
“Barbara is the type of person that says, ‘This is what we’ve done, but this is where we still need to be going.’ She has a vision for the industry that carries us along,” said Eldridge.
Janice Connelley, president of the National CattleWomen has known Byington for more years than either one of them is willing to admit.
– In the thick of things. “Barbara is a joiner, the one person right in the thick of everything, as is her husband, Dal (Dallas.) Both of them will do whatever is asked of them,” said Connelley, who added that Byington is currently the regional representative for the national organization, with the vast territory of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
“Barbara travels to all of the national meetings and brings back a different perspective that we all can share,” said Eldridge.
“She was recently treasurer, as position she hates,” said Connelley. “But a friend who was going to be president asked her to do it. She was there when a friend needed help.”
Although Byington was born in Reno, she was raised in Doyle, Calif., until she was 11 and her parents moved to the Carson Valley. She was born into a ranching family and continues to honor that lifestyle with Dal at Galeppi Land and Livestock, the ranch her parents bought in the early 1950s.
“I don’t know how many committees Barbara has served on, and she’s held all of the offices, some of them more than once,” said Eldridge. “She is always eager to help. She sets an example for the rest of the members.”
“And she doesn’t stop with the CattleWomen,” said Connelley. “Barbara got involved with 4-H when her son Bozo (Russel) was little and just kept on going. I think she’s been a 4-H leader or advisor for over 25 years.”
Byington has welcomed foreign exchange students into her home. She is an honorary member of Minden Fortnightly, and she manages a full-time job as well.
– Assessor. Most Carson Valley residents know Byington as the county’s assessor. First elected in 1982, Byington has watched the county grow and agricultural lands disappear.
“You don’t appreciate what you have until you can’t have it,” said Byington in an interview with Linda Hiller in 1997. “The money isn’t in ranching right now. It’s more a way of life.”
The ranching and beef industries have changed in the Carson Valley since Byington moved here as a little girl. Yet, according to her many close friends, Byington isn’t going to let any award or honor go to her head, and she isn’t going to give up promoting beef anytime in the near future.